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Is it Perfect to be Perfect at all times!?

Dear friend

We are all on the journey of life, where every day the sun sets, to rise again, shines with all its might even if there are clouds overshadowing it, to set again yet to rise again. The moon shines at Full to become a No Moon or a No moon gradually becomes a Full Moon again…just in 28 days. Observe a little closely, you would discover many more examples.

What does the mother Nature want us to learn from it? I learn from it that nothing, absolutely nothing lasts in the state of permanence. Whatever goes up must come down and whatever comes down must eventually rise again.

We humans are very much part of this very Nature so how is it possible that we would have all things perfect at all times? By very nature of life, two opposite facets of all aspects of life are at work together in a cyclical way. Either it is raining or not, either it is dark or bright, sunny or cloudy, happy or unhappy, high or low, profit or loss, success or failure. Is it compulsory to pass all the tests that life throws at you? Is it not human to err once in a while? Is it possible to be upbeat at all times? Is it possible to be taking right decision at all times? Is it possible to be making profits at all times in business? Is it possible to hold on to your confidence at all times? Is it possible for the sun to never set or moon to be at Full moon ever?

There are times when things don’t go well and there are times when they are running at their best. The fact that life has to be perfect at all times is the biggest reason of unhappiness. Strong people do break, successful people do fail. They just refuse to give up until they build themselves again. Like sun they do set but to rise again. You are winner as long as you refuse to fail. So my dear friend…rise up, take charge, start all over again, you are already there because you chose to talk, you chose to seek help, you chose to start fresh.

Kudos to you!

P.S.

This letter came out in response to a long conversation with a friend. Life at times throws at us more than we could handle. Just by being ears to the friends and family, a lot gets resolved. Sometimes a little different perspective is all that one needs. And sometimes a volley of questions helps to find one’s own answers. So here is my volley of questions to my friend to discover her own answers!

We sure wish to have obedient children!?

Do you wish your children to be obedient?

Yes, of course, all of us as parents do wish our children to be obedient.

Well, let us explore this concept of obedience a little deeper to understand fully and decide whether we really wish our children to be that or not!

Obedience to put it simply is to do or follow what you are told. On a more subtle level, it is to believe what everyone else believes.

When I believe what everyone else believes, where is the scope left to check the facts before I believe. And when I don’t do the facts checking for the self, have I used my mental faculty, my thinking abilities?

See, you can counter me ..means now we must go and experiment in the space to believe that the earth is round? No, I don’t mean that. I just mean that when we label growing children as disobedient, when they are just trying to look at the same thing from another perspective or they are trying to do something with their own unique approach, we as parents must know that they are not being disobedient, they are just being innovative and trying to identify themselves.

Imagine, you wanted your child to bake a cake the way you had been baking all along, but your son tries something new, and the cake he baked is differently delicious. It is not the same as yours. Your son decided not to obey you and came out with something totally new. This is being innovative, this is being intelligent. Your son trusted his instincts and developed confidence also. Suppose the cake would not have turned out totally edible. So what? He would have learnt the lesson as to what not to do the next time so that the cake turns out to be edible and that lesson would be permanent in his memory because it has come out of experience.

The problem with obedience (Absolute Obedience) is that it robs children of important experiences. Experiences of life are processed in the brain and are stored as intelligence to be used further.

Obedience needs no intelligence. Any idiot or fool can be obedient.

It needs guts and courage to be disobedient at times. (I am not saying the disobedience is to be promoted just for the sake of being disobedient). You see, when you are being obedient, you don’t own any responsibility, you don’t owe any explanation. But when you choose to be disobedient, you owe explanation. Since you owe explanation, you automatically own responsibility because usually nobody loves to explain.

While dealing with children, we must remember that it is not about our children only. Any intelligent person will ask; why? Why am I supposed to do this? What are the reasons you wish me to do it a particular way and what will be the consequencesAt times the acts of disobedience by our children are a way of great intelligence.

As I said earlier, the more subtle form of disobedience is to believe in the belief commonly accepted. The most commonly accepted belief that we must not question our seniors/bosses/parents  is the root cause of social evils to go on & on. (Only in army, it is acceptable to not question your seniors or bosses because the decisions that are to be taken in the middle of a battle field do not provide the opportunity to question and reason so a senior has to be absolutely obeyed).

Many of you readers reading this blog must be aware of Nazi Concentration Camps during World War II. The Heads of the Concentration Camps were all educated officers, they were professionals like engineers and doctors. What did they do? They committed the most ghastly crimes. The torture and inhumanity, these officers inflicted upon the prisoners were unparalleled. BUT  they owed no explanation, because they had obeyed the orders of their Commander.See, when this mindset of obedience settles in, the Authoritarianism flourishes; at homes, in organizations, in societies and in States.

The belief that we must not ask questions because everybody else does not ask is the gross form of obedience. Where does it start? It starts at home, at school, where children are supposed to follow and do everything they are told. The schools were supposed to nurture the intelligence but instead nipped it in the bud. Any child who asks intelligent questions (at times uncomfortable too, because they shake a teacher’s core belief system also) is labeled disobedient. Obedience converts you into robots and it is easy to manage and handle the class. Imagine the class where a teacher has to answer 25 possible intelligent questions for which he/she is not prepared. Either make extra efforts to think from that perspective or snub the enquiries in the name of disobedience. Similarly at home, it is easier and comfortable for parents to push obedience rather than involve children in intelligent discussions.

Looking at obedience from this perspective is a real problem. On the contrary, disobedience is the assertion of your intelligence, of the mindset that I own responsibility and owe explanation.

Since, everybody has been doing, so I’ll also do the same way and my children must do the same. Take a deep breath dear readers, all progress of the mankind has its root in disobedience. (Disobedience to me is  questioning the norms, their efficacy, their purpose. If they no longer serve the purpose, they must be redesigned.)

I believe  we all wish to nurture Intelligently Disobedient children.

Right ???

Would sure love to know your perspective. Share your take through comments.

Reference:-

  1. McLeod, S. A. (2017, Febuary 05). The milgram shock experiment. Simply Psychology.https://www.simplypsychology.org/milgram.html

Building Emotional Intelligence!

Continued from..the previous blog.

The Essential Component of Success!

Emotional Intelligence like any other skill can be built up with conscious and regular practice.

Self Reflect to Build Self Awareness:

The ability to observe oneself and reflect helps one make  conscious choices. The more you acknowledge and name your feelings, better aware you become at knowing your own emotions, what triggers them, how do you feel at that time and how do you behave or act. Deliberate reflections on your own actions, helps you realize you have choices in your actions.

For Self Reflection to be a part, you can practice following-

  • Practice being in present.
  •  Deliberately stop over the day many times to check your mental state at a given point of time.
  • Acknowledge your feelings and name it.
  • Practice observing others and their feelings.
  • Notice your judgments for the self as well as about others. Doing this helps you realize that people are different.
  •  Practice sharing your feelings through speaking. This helps you pay attention to why of the feelings around.
  • Notice the intensity of your positive and negative emotions, thoughts or feelings.

Self Soothe to Build Self Regulation:

Self soothing is like positive re-affirmations to the self. It helps us to manage ourselves when somebody is attacking or blaming us. Self soothing helps us to remain objective and take the feedback positively.

Practice self soothing by-

  • Have faith in yourself and your capabilities. To have faith in your capacities, regularly ask feedback from others.
  • Be objective and look at the situation without adding emotions to it.
  • Look for what is right and not who is right.
  • Act as if you really count. This helps you to overcome your fear and empowers you to listen to yourself.

Practice Empathy to Build Empathy:

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see where is it pinching. Being high on empathy makes us able to understand others, their viewpoints, helps us to listen more and we become able to appreciate differences.

To build up empathy, we can practice;

  • Acknowledging self and self feelings.
  • Acknowledging others and their feelings.
  • Trying knowing others; your friends, colleagues, team members.
  • Try listening without interrupting.
  • Try initiating conversation during stress.
  • Practice keeping yourself at other person’s place. Consequently we get more control on our actions and behaviors.

I believe, being high on Emotional Intelligence is the new mantra of success because in real life it is all about our abilities to understand self and others, their feelings, emotions and intentions. Once we can see through that, we can enhance the outcomes of our interactions. We can see what drives us and at the same time what drives others. Together as a team, we can be more productive, at home we can be more accepting of others, at work place we may learn to go well with others. We can choose to be not in agreement at all times but our manners of disagreement can be more agreeable. We can choose to be more happy, peaceful and successful just by building on our emotional intelligence.

Happy Emotional Intelligence Building!

A Reach Out Call to My Teacher- Nasreen Bahen ji

https://growinupwithlife.blogspot.com/2020/09/a-reach-out-call-to-my-teachernasreen.html

HAPPY TEACHERS’ DAY !!

Happy Teacher’s Day to a teacher, who shaped me, not only through her teaching, more than that through her passion and dedication to teach what she was best at , English as a language. Yes, she was Nasreen Bahenji (way back in eighties in Govt. Schools of UP, we used to address our female teachers as Bahenji and male teachers were addressed as Master ji or Guru ji).

She taught us English from class 9th to 12th. I studied in Govt. Girls Inter College Basti, U.P. It was a Hindi medium school. Being good at my studies and enjoying learning new things, I somehow  was attracted towards language English. Of all other reasons, one reason most probably was influence of Nasreen Bahenji’s fluent and impeccable English coupled with her refined manners and sweet voice. Voice so sweet yet so low that if you wished to learn from her, you had to pay absolute attention to her. You could not avoid listening to her lest you may fail in English which was the norm more than the deviation during those days.

In the beginning of class 10th, I told Nasreen Bahenji, during one of our Slogan Writing sessions with her that I wish to learn English like her and she answered with a question, “What stops you ?” I also answered back with a question as to who would teach me. ( back then there was neither the trend nor much resources to afford a private class). She very gently answered again, “I will teach you.”And YES, she taught me. For the next may be four- five months, this is how our class went by-

The first day she gave me a book of English Grammar and opening the section Tenses, introduced me as to how to proceed from Simple to Complex exercises. She told me to read the rules and try translating the sentences given in Hindi to English. For Vocabulary, she told me just to use a dictionary from Hindi to English.

I was told to translate as many sentences, complete as many exercises as I could and deposit the note book with her in the morning during assembly and to collect it back during lunch.

Next day I deposited my copy practicing Simple Present Tense where in I had filled in perhaps 20-25 pages. During lunch she handed me my note book back, full of corrections and a caution. The caution was, “Before you take on exercises, you must get few sample sentences checked by me.”

So for the next classes, I would deposit the note book full of exercises, covering the tense which was sample tested, and a few samples of the next tense to be learnt. We met every day during lunch for almost ten minutes when she would explain the corrections done by her. Every small WHAT was looked into and every small WHY of it was thoroughly described at my level of understanding.

And this was repeated every single day of school working. On non working days  of school, I kept on doing my work, her correction work doubled or at times tripled  but Nasreen Bahenji, not even once got irritated.

As soon as I mastered basics, she would add some advance concept or finer nuances to my work, explain it a little and assign the work.Somewhere 2-3 months into Learning English Project, she made it mandatory for me to speak in English with her during our 10 minutes Lunch Session.

One fine morning, she told me not to come every day to her but two times a week would be sufficient provided I kept doing my work every day. Then she brought it down to once a week and then to once a fortnight. Finally one day she asked me, “Why do you keep coming to me?” I replied, “To learn English”. She exclaimed, “But you know it already!” We both looked into each other’s eyes, her full of encouraging praise and mine full of gratitude, we both laughed out loudly.

From that day, daily visits stopped but she was still my mentor for any issue, be it English or life. I had become proficient at English. During one discussion with me, she encouraged me to opt English as a medium of instruction for classes 11th and 12th. To my query that there was no English medium school in our town asmm it was a backward area, looking questioningly into my eyes she stated, “You just have to opt for medium English to write your exams and rest goes on like as usual. Study in a Hindi medium school, have your books of all subjects in English and keep doing your work.” This was workable. And yes I was the only girl to write my paper of class 12th in English from a Hindi medium school way back in 1984. After that I have pursued all my education in language English only.

It must not be a story of courage and passion for many today as studying in English medium is the trend. But putting in context, it sure is the story of faith, courage and passionNasreen Bahenji’s faith in the capacity of a student, her courage to dismiss other teachers’ demotivating remarks at times and her passion for teaching, passion to go beyond the call of duty to do what she loved doing. Teaching to someone who is willing to learn is a double joy for a teacher.

I owe my proficiency in English to my teacher’s extra ordinary efforts with me.

This teachers’ day, this story sharing is a tribute to my teacher Nasreen Bahenji in public though I have been sharing this story very often with my teachers and students over time.

I don’t know where my teacher is. I tried locating her through a letter to school some 7-8 years back, tried looking for her on Social Media but till date have not been able to make any contact with her. Through this tribute I wish to reach out to my teacher. Any of you who is reading this blog, if you have some clue of her whereabouts, please share with me. All I know of her is that she was Nasreen Bahenji teaching English in G.G.I.C. Basti, U.P. during the years 1982-84.

P.S.

By the time I grew up, and became a teacher, private English medium schools were gaining popularity over govt. schools. This is where my hold on the language has always assisted me to do justice to my job. As an educator I believe, the language of learning should be mother tongue. One must learn any foreign language but learning in the name of language barrier must never stop.

I am proud of my mother tongue Hindi which I am equally proficient at. Hindi is not only my mother tongue, it is my day to day language, yet I have always experienced that being proficient in English has always benefitted me in my career progression. I have been into main stream teaching as an educator for 24 years and led the field from the front as Founder Principal of a CBSE school for 16 years.

 

An Open Letter to Schools

Dear Schools

In Education Sector, the only people, organizations or businesses to survive will be those who embrace the technology, learn and transform themselves. New Normal is being created very much in front of our own eyes..Digital/Online Teaching is replacing the Conventional Teaching. Those who match the speed of change will emerge successful.

Pandemic 2020 has reaffirmed the universal fact that it is the survival of the fittest but this time not in terms of physical strength, resources or connections. It is survival of the fittest..in terms of digital adaptability and resilience.

Ever wondered what are those attributes that reveal that somebody possesses that Attitude to Survive or not?

A Reality Check can be taken on the following parameters:
  • Am I capable to identify that change at the right time?
  • Am I ready to equip myself with the knowledge to take the change in stride?

Or

Am I still in denial mode and resisting the change?
  • Am I ready to invest time in myself to learn that knowledge?
  • Do I have the perseverance enough to continue if I have started to learn?
  • Am I ready to come out of my comfort zone and reinvent myself?
  • Am I ready to learn and fail rather than fail to learn?
  • Do I understand how to financially invest in learning to get the highest return?
  • Do I have the capability to convert knowledge into money and results?
  • Do I have the attitude to ‘just do it’?
  • Now let us do the Reality Check, this time..  ‘As a School’;
  •  Had I been quick enough to identify that right now digital/online teaching learning is replacing the traditional class rooms teaching learning?
  • Have I shown the willingness to take my entire team of educators on board and ready to learn the nitty gritty of on-line education in a systematic manner? (Please note that teachers learning on their own without any institutional support is not akin to systematic manner.)

Or

Do I believe that once the pandemic is over the teaching learning will come back to the traditional class room model?

  •  Have I made some structured schedule to spend time everyday to learn technology and upgrade myself? Have I done something to keep the morale of my team up?
  •  Have I made some practical plans to continue with my learning or it was just a knee jerk reaction and just organized a few training sessions and have nothing planned in a continuous manner?
  • Have I done something to keep the morale of my teachers up and motivated them enough to take a leap towards digital transformation? Have I been able to show them the vision? (Vision is something to be happening in the future but we are able to see it today?)
  •  Do I have guts and courage to learn and master one digital tool, another and then other till I find/ get customized one as per my needs? Am I ready to fail also while learning on the go?
  •  Have I been able to realize that I have to plan to invest financially also into the digital transformation trainings of my teachers? While right now it might seem as an expenditure but the business acumen in me tells me that it is actually an investment in future.
  • Am I capable enough to convert all this knowledge of digital transformation into real time profits and achievements? Do I understand that money invested today in my teachers’ training and establishing digital infrastructure at school is actually going to reflect in terms of my Students’ academic achievements and in turn helping me to sustain my business over time?
  • Have I taken the plunge in to digital learning, training and establishing digital interface or am I still brooding over fees and salary? Have I realized the things which can’t be controlled must not be tried to be controlled? Rather what can be done from my side, am I doing just that?

How right was Alvin Toffen when he said, “The illiterates of 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”?

This is applicable to individuals, organizations and businesses in equal measure. This is THE TIME for schools to learn, unlearn and relearn to be able to survive in future.

All the very best to all of you for the future ahead!

P.S.

These are of course difficult questions to ask and answer. Yet the difficult questions, when addressed to with utmost sincerity, very often open the doors to emerging possibilities.

I understand that the money is short in supply. Yet I know this also that we get funded when our plans are viable. Investment in digital transformation is very much a viable project.

Reading and listening to woes of private schools, teachers, parents and students on various platforms was somehow forcing me to think of a very practical bailout from the situation. This sure will help schools to emerge as schools of future. At such times of crisis the time at which decision is taken, makes a lot of difference to the survival trajectory.I believe many schools with futuristic visions have already taken the plunge at the RIGHT TIME and will survive the pandemic in the sense that the business and education both will be taken care of.

Let U be an IT Entrepreneur

Aspirant youth always look for opportunities for betterment and advancement. One question that arises after completion of Graudation in Engineering or Technology is ‘WHAT NEXT”.  Dilemma  is to go for employment as a Software Professional or start a small business  of your own in Information  Technology(I.T.)  as an Entrepreneur. Small is always Beautiful.  Yes,  it is a good idea to start  business in I.T in a small way and then grow as an self-propelled Entrepreneur.  Not only you will be fulfilling your dream but also providing gainful employment to the unemployed youth in the process. For that matter, Infor

For that matter, I.T. is footloose industry whithout forward or backward linkages. Raw material is your idea, process is your thought and output is an I.T, tool for usage in the Society. You can implement your ideas with minimum investment or resources.

This Program enables you  to have insight into the steps that are involved in pursuing a viable business opportunity in IT.  Focus on the emerging business verticals and your preparedness in taking up a model, suiting to you is the crux . Further the Programe gives you an idea on the formation of Company in India, process and procedures involved thereon. In addition, State/Central Government incentives, felicitations and handholding agencies/mechanisms, to start an IT enterprise are dealt  with appropriately.

An Open Letter to Parents

Dear Parents,

Could not stop writing this letter to you. With hope and positivity I am looking up to you all as the future of mankind is being raised at homes.

During the past five months, the life as we knew it, has been changing so fast in front of us all that we could feel the change happening and could relate so well with the age old wisdom that – Change is the only constant.

As the things were taking different shapes in front of us, among other things, we could also see Education emerging in its new avatar. The traditional teaching has been replaced by Online Teaching and the roles of parents and teachers have merged.

In such a scenario, I have few questions to ask you all.

  • Are you ready to accept the change? (which is still going on)
  • Did you ever wonder what will be the new scenario of education?
  • What will be your role in the hybrid model (a combination of online and offline teaching once the schools open) of education?
  • Are you ready to home school your children?
  • Did you ever visualize a world without schools?
  • Could you have done something to collaborate with the teachers of your children?
  • What could you have added to the learning of your children during this opportunity (though forced one) when you were available at home with your children?
  • What is more important?

Basic competence in reading, writing arithmetic along with life skills

Or

high proficiency in reading, writing and arithmetic without any life skills?

  • Did you try to coach your children basic life skills for physical survival, like cooking, washing, cleaning etc. other than studies?
  • Did you coach emotional stability, courage and resilience through your talks and actions to your children?
  • Could you have done something to make the situation better?

Try answering these questions very honestly. I am sure your answers to yourself will help you to find out the meaning of education and identify your role in the education of your children.

Remember parents, education is not what happens inside the four walls of the class room, education is all about our experiences and leanings out of them.

This corona time was an excellent opportunity to make the most of such experiences happening to all of us together.

Did you make the most of this opportunity? If yes, keep it up. If not, you still have time to think over and make the most of the time available. Nobody is yet sure as to when the schools are reopening. The schools open or don’t, the life goes on. So the learning for life must go on.

Wishing you all courage and resilience.

Truly Yours

Anju Arora